Marseille is a vibrant port city that has a long history that stretches back to the ancient Greeks. In fact, France’s second-largest city is also its oldest. From being a city with a rather shady past to its current avatar as an exuberant multicultural city, there’s much that lures travelers to this part of France. When it comes to hotels in Marseille, France, you’re quite spoilt for choice with the vast array to choose from. There’s plenty to go around and enough variety to cater to all kinds of budgets.
While the beating heart of the city is the vibrant Vieux Port, there are other attractions too. Some of the top things to do in Marseille are exploring the variety of excellent museums, the Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde, and the Old Town.
Cannes is less than two hours by road from Marseille and a little over two hours by train. So if you have the time, you could probably take a day trip and check out the top things to do in Cannes.
Where To Stay In Marseille
If you enjoy the hustle and bustle of the city, the center is the best place to stay. The Old Port (Vieux Port) and the Canebière both lie in this area. You’ll find plenty of upscale hotels, brasseries, and high-end cafes along the waterfront of the Old Port. This lively area is a big draw for travelers as is Opera on the business end of the port.
La Corniche lies to the south of the Old Port and is another popular area with its small beaches and notable landmarks such as the Notre-Dame de la Garde. However, for those wanting a bit of quiet, Long Champ and Cinq Avenues are not too far from the center but much quieter. These fancy areas have Haussmanian buildings and plenty of green areas. Budget travelers will do well to look at Saint Victor which is also in the center but much cheaper than its fancier neighbors.
Alternatively, you could check out the best hotels in Cannes if you’d prefer to be close to the beach. The irony of Marseille is that although it sits beside the Mediterranean it isn’t a sea resort as there’s no beach so to speak. Another good option on the French Riviera that is close to Marseille is Nice so you could also check out the best hotels in Nice.
However, whether you’re backpacking, traveling for business or here with your family, you’ll definitely find something to suit your style and pocket.
Hotel Le Corbusier
Architecture buffs will love the exteriors and interiors of the iconic Hotel Le Corbusier which occupies the third and fourth floors of the modernist Cité Radieuse. One of the most iconic 20th-century buildings in the city, classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site is just a stone’s throw from the Prado beaches and Stade Velodrome. It’s a short drive through the Prado- Carenage Tunnel to the Old Town.
The famed architect Le Corbusier’s modernist ‘Design for Living’ philosophy is evident in all spaces of the hotel. While the big draw here is undoubtedly the history of the Brutalist masterpiece, the rates are a big plus point too. Le Corbusier is one of the more affordable hotels in Marseille, France despite all the hype that surrounds it. If you want to get a taste of Le Corbusier’s monastic cells, the small cabin rooms will give you just that. However, the suites and double rooms are larger but come with minimalistic decor.
Guests at the hotel get special access to the gorgeous rooftop with its panoramic views of the surroundings. You’ll also find an extremely popular restaurant Le Ventre de l’Architecte, in the building. The building’s original restaurant offers set dinner menus. Breakfast is also served in the same venue that offers beautiful sea views.
Gorgeous landscaped lawns and a secluded location make Hotel 96 one of the more romantic hotels in Marseille, France. It’s the ideal location for someone looking for a quiet getaway but probably not the right place for tourists. There are just 13 rooms at this cozy boutique hotel located on the outskirts of the city. It’s about 20 minutes to the city center from here and 10 minutes to the beaches. A short walk from the hotel will bring you to the famous Calanques of Marseille. Although public transport is available from here, you won’t find any transport if you’re looking for a night out in town.
Lush gardens with bushes and tall trees greet visitors to the property. The 19th-century house in which the hotel now resides was once the family home of the owners. So you can be sure that the place exudes personality and charm. Each room at the hotel is uniquely designed with tiled or wooden floors. Spacious ground floor rooms come with private terraces that look onto the gardens.
Breakfast is quite a spread with a good selection of cooked meat, cheese, and homemade French toast. It’s served till quite late in the morning so if you do sleep in for a while, you won’t miss it. Though there’s no on-site restaurant the hotel offers light lunches and takeaway for dinner. Other perks at the hotel include a good-sized swimming pool, a sauna, and massages plus a library.
Boasting one of the largest meeting and event venues in the city, nhow Marseille stands out as one of the best hotels in Marseille for business travelers. The hotel lies between the Old Port and Prado beach right on the seafront. It has a beautiful setting overlooking a marina and bay. You can enjoy fantastic views over the Calanques and the Chateau d’If.
The hotel’s design draws inspiration from the postcards of the French Riviera to create a rather confusing canvas. There’s a mix of all kinds of themes and art going on at this unconventional hotel so pointing out one specific theme is rather difficult. Guests rooms feature extra comfy beds with most looking out to the sea. The apartment-style nhow Penthouse is the clear standout with its bold street art and whisky bar.
The hotel also features interesting dining venues from the Tunnel Bar with its colorful Psychedelic art to the gorgeous terrace of the Sky Bar. Head to the hotel’s main restaurant to enjoy farm-to-table cuisine. When you want to stop the clock, relax at the beautiful outdoor pool or head to the Spa for a range of treatments and massages. It also features two Jacuzzis, a hammam, and a solarium. The best thing about the water is that it is sourced from natural, spring water.
Just 10 minutes walk from Vieux Port will bring you to the charming C2 Hotel, located inside a late 19th-century mansion. The hotel seamlessly blends the classic pomp of its past with a modern cutting edge style, creating a space that is at once luxurious and charming. Modern glass chandeliers combined with parquet wood floors and frescoed ceilings give the hotel a unique character. Hallways have been transformed into wading pools and two contrasting entrances are preludes to what to expect.
The guest rooms, on the other hand, are much more subdued when it comes to the décor but you’ll find many luxe touches. Hermes toiletries, minibars, tablet computers, and espresso-makers enhance the comfort of the rooms.
Given its small size, the hotel is surprisingly big on amenities. You can enjoy a range of treatments at the spa or relax in the hot tub and steam room. The indoor pool with its blue lighting and the underground setting is also quite dramatic. Breakfast is quite a spread, served in the bar or on the outdoor terrace. You can enjoy tapas at the bar in the evenings which also features live music and a DJ on certain nights.
Les Bords de Mer
Not many hotels in Marseille, France, look directly out onto the sea but the views from Les Bords de Mer are to die for! Sitting in the heart of the city between the Corniche coast road and the Mediterranean, the views here are unlike any other. Though it’s just five minutes from the Old Port, the location makes it feel like a private paradise. The hotel does not have a private beach although its feet are right in the water. However, the Catalans beach is just next door.
All 19 guest rooms look out onto the Mediterranean Sea with most of them featuring balconies or terraces. The pastel-colored rooms are quite snug with contemporary touches. In-room amenities are quite minimal which could be a deterrent for someone who enjoys a room with perks.
The food at the restaurant is delicious which makes it a popular gathering place for locals too. In summer you can enjoy tapas at the rooftop bar or pizzas on the lower terrace. Another highlight of the hotel is the mineral spa with its sauna, hammam, and indoor heated pool. That’s not all though, you’ll also find a heated rooftop swimming pool and a fitness room.
Le Petit Nice – Passedat
Le Petit Nice – Passedat may not be your sprawling five-star hotel but this boutique accommodation definitely climbs right to the top of the best hotels in Marseille, France, with its five-star amenities. Spread across two adjacent villas, the hotel that sits on the seafront has been around since 1917.
While the main villa has a modernist décor, the second villa has a more traditional feel. Guest rooms named after personalities from the art world or local Calanques are spacious and bright. All rooms come with sea views while some even have terraces. Some rooms feature open-plan bathrooms, so if you’re not too comfortable with this arrangement, ask for a room with a regular bathroom. One of the interesting features of the rooms is the gramophone player with a selection of vinyl records.
While the swimming pool and solarium are excellent spaces to hang out, you can even take a dip in the sea from the rocks. Apart from these facilities, the standout of the hotel is the three Michelin starred restaurant that serves up delectable seafood and delicious desserts.
Sofitel Marseille Vieux Port
If you’re looking for hotels in Marseille, France, that offer a spectacular view, you can’t do better than the Sofitel Marseille Vieux Port. Occupying a prime position on a hill that overlooks the port, the hotel offers you some of the most gorgeous views of Marseille. However, the downside for someone wanting to explore the city is that the area is not well-served by public transport. You will find a hop-on-hop-off tourist bus stopping right in front of the hotel though. It’s a 15-minute walk to the Old Port from here.
With the amenities and gorgeous vistas that the hotel offers, you probably wouldn’t want to step out much. From the moment you enter the charming marine-themed lobby, the luxury and attention to detail are evident. Bright, spacious guest rooms feature top quality furniture, Sofitel’s comfortable patented bed, and a good range of amenities. One of the best things about this hotel is the breakfast that is included in the rate.
Breakfast is a delectable treat with the variety on offer. It’s not just the variety but the type of breakfast treats served to make this a fantastic start to the day. Les Trois Forts, the hotel’s restaurant is also open for lunch and dinner. With its enormous wine list and appetizing menu, you’re sure to satiate your cravings without burning a hole in your wallet. Other perks that stand out at the hotel are the well-equipped fitness center and the two pools. Although the indoor and outdoor pools are a little small, they’re not bad for someone who just wants to unwind.
Intercontinental Marseille – Hotel Dieu
A heady mix of history and luxury catapult the Intercontinental Marseille – Hotel Dieu right to the top of the rankings of the best hotels in Marseille, France. Everything about the hotel is impressive starting with the grandiose edifice. What began as a regular hospital in the 12th century gradually grew in size to become a palatial 18th-century hospital which was eventually transformed into this exquisite five-star hotel. The hotel boasts of being the first hotel ever to be restructured subject to environmental quality certification.
The guest rooms are spacious with an earthy palette that reflects the mineral tones of Marseille. Many of the guest rooms look out onto the Old Port but most rooms face the backstreets or the inner courtyard. If you can dig a little deeper into your pocket, choose to stay at one of the 33 rooms that feature private loggias. These rooms offer great views of Notre Dame de la Garde.
While the hotel features a Michelin starred restaurant, Alcyone, that serves up a five-course or eight-course menu, the less formal Les Fenêtres Brasserie is excellent too. You won’t find an outdoor pool here but the spa has two saunas, hammams, and an indoor pool.
From its vantage position atop the Panier Hill in the oldest quarter of Marseille, the hotel offers spectacular views. Some of the city’s attractions such as the MuCEM and other major museums are a short distance away.
Radisson Blue Vieux Port
With its enviable location in the midst of the Old Port, Radisson Blue Vieux Port is possibly one of the best-located hotels in Marseille, France. Besides offering stunning views, it gives you access to numerous shops, bars, and restaurants. Getting to other parts of the city from here is easy too with the metro just a 10-minute walk away.
You’ll find plenty of spaces to linger within the hotel with four outdoor patios and a beautifully landscaped swimming pool. Guest rooms stand out for their generous sizes and tasteful decor. Rooms that look out onto the port are more expensive but if you want a true taste of luxury, the suites are excellent.
The hotel is a big draw for business travelers because of its large business center that occupies an entire floor. Le Quai du 7ème, the in-house restaurant is also a popular space at the hotel with its terrace that overlooks the Old Port and private patio. In the summer you can enjoy an evening concert at the restaurant.
Alex Hotel & Spa
Seamlessly blending modern design with traditional hospitality, the Alex Hotel & Spa is a three-star hotel with a five-star experience. The hotel is located just outside the main train station Saint-Charles, on a busy thoroughfare. The advantage of staying here is that you have a good number of public transport options for exploring the city. You’ll find a few bars and restaurants in the vicinity but the Old Port is 15-minutes on foot.
A cool modern vibe wraps itself around the hotel, including the guest rooms. Each unique room showcases a different style and décor. Rooms reflect the colors of the floor that they’re on as each floor is color-coded. Even though the rooms are a little small, the clever design makes them feel more spacious than they are.
The hotel opened the 1713 Lounge Bar in 2018. The bar has plenty of seating with an attractive outdoor terrace. A good range of local wines and snacks are available at the bar. Another new addition to the Alex Hotel is the Spa with a sauna, steam room, and sensorial shower. There’s also a fully-equipped fitness room and a meeting room.
Hotel La Residence du Vieux Port
Another hotel that enjoys an enviable location right on the Old Port is the elegant Hotel La Residence du Vieux Port. There’s plenty to explore in the neighborhood with bars and restaurants just around the corner and the Old Town within easy walking distance.
The charm and brightness of the space hit you as soon as you step foot into the lobby with its dramatic wall tapestry. It’s all about color here from the public spaces to the guest rooms. Pops of color and large windows make the rooms bright and welcoming.
Breakfast is served in a sunny room on the first floor that has a balcony overlooking the port. Le Relais 50, the hotel’s restaurant is a destination in itself with the delicacies created by award-winning chef Noël Baudrand. Apart from the restaurant, there are no other big amenities like a spa or pool to look forward to, although there is a small fitness center.
Recommended Restaurants/Bars in Marseille:
- Walking Food Tour with Tastings – Eat your way through downtown Marseille as you feast on the gastronomical wonders that the area has to offer. Enjoy traditional French dishes and delicacies at historic eateries and modern cafes in the city.
- Le Petit Nice Passedat – Touted as one of the best seafood restaurants in the world, Chef Gerald Passedat’s minimalist cooking style transforms fresh fish dishes into something unexpected and delicious.
- Le Café des Epices – Chef Arnaud Carton de Grammont is credited with being one of the first chefs to launch the southern French bistro movement in Marseille. This intimate restaurant of his showcases an inventive modern French menu that changes regularly.
Recommended Activities in Marseille:
- Catamaran Cruise & Lunch in the Calanques National Park – Set sail on a remarkable cruise along the creeks and archipelagos of the Calanques National Park. You’ll also have the opportunity to swim and snorkel.
- Private Tour – The best way to see a place is through the eyes of a local. This tour of the city can last from two to six hours to give you a real insider’s look at the city.
- Notre Dame de la Garde – This iconic landmark sits atop the Garde Hill protecting sailors, fishermen, and the city. The stunning basilica which took over two decades to build dates back to the 19th century.